Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reflecting on the past year

Happy New year everyone!

What a blessed year it has been.

I would have to say I put in more frequent flying miles this year than the past five years combined - I have spent much of the year traveling - from coast to coast, literally. I spent early months working with, or visiting children, all of July was spent away from home - from Hawaii to Texas for a couple of weeks to several other parts of the country - Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas. I spent Thanksgiving with family in Oregon, and Christmas to New Year's with family in Southern California.

This was a year of learning. My daughter has a weighted 4.6 GPA (she is a straight-A student and she carries six AP classes, therefore her gpa is higher than the usual 4.0) Anyway, she was accepted to UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz - and a variety of other universities. We spent most of November and part of December checking out schools, filling out scholarship applications, and writing/editing essays.

I did plenty of news-reporting & writing but very little novel-writing this past year. But I did start writing for a new publication - Tulare County Magazine. And I got an interview with a world-renowned chef from Philadelphia for an upcoming story in a national magazine.

In addition, I continued writing weekly articles for the Fresno Bee and frequent stories for the Porterville Recorder, in addition to a couple for the Visalia Times Delta and Tulare Advance Register newspapers.

Reflections and Highlights of 2007:

January: For the fifth consecutive year, I offered a class "Journalism 101" to middle school students - that is always fun - talking to groups of students about writing. I love that. I also worked on a tab of farming stories - covering the top 10 commodities in Tulare County.

February: I continued working on the farming tab stories and also covered the 2007 World Ag Expo - where I got to meet and write about Rudy Giuliani . I also attended a very special concert that I shall never forget - Gustav Holsts' The Planets with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia. Awesome.

March: Continued covering local events and started working on stories for Tulare County Style Magazine - now called Tulare County magazine. I also covered the CMEA - California Music Educators Association - music festival. It was four days of band music - heaven!

Who can forget Opening Day of Oaks Baseball? Loved every minute of it. I also covered a tab of stories and photos for the Iris Festival.

I covered the Porterville Fair. That is always fun.

Took a break and enjoyed Hawaii with my children for 10 days before taking a 12-hr flight to Pennsylvania and W. Virginia to cover the tour of the Fabulous Studio Band.

Returned in time to travel to Texas by mid month for a couple of weeks. Enjoyed writing while I was there and toured George W. Bush' childhood home. I also entered the July contest for a national writing group and won "Best Short Story" for my story "Christmas 1942 - A Means to Mighty Ends." I had such fun writing it.

I turned down an all-expense paid trip to a luxury resort hotel to the Philippine Islands (two weeks room/board, airfare, etc) - poor timing. I had been gone almost all summer and needed time at home - girls returning to school. Instead, I spent a week on the shore of the East Coast, visiting several lighthouses, made tacos and drank and sipped on delicious imported teas and coffees. Also this month - I wrote a series of stories about the Porterville Historical Museum.

Covered the Tulare County Fair - 2 stories a day during the course of the fair - and worked on stories for the "Living Here" magazine tab. My story on Valley Fever came out in Tulare County Magazine. One very special highlight was to receive 49 long-stem white roses for my birthday from a secret admirer.

I wrote the "Women in Business" tab and covered the 2007 California Business Expo - where I got to meet and write about former President Fox of Mexico. I also did a little bit of traveling this month - east coast again, of course.

Worked on most of the stories for the Veterans Day tab in addition to covering the usual Veterans' Day events - The annual Veterans Day Old Timers' Tea and the Buck Shaffer Band-A-Rama. Again, a little travel, short but magical. And I spent an extended Thanksgiving holiday in Portland, Oregon with my girls.

I continued visiting schools with my daughter and basically took December off to work on scholarship applications and enjoy the holidays with family and loved ones in the Valley and Southern California.

Goals for 2008:
To continue writing and traveling and breaking into magazines. I would like to finally start writing for national magazines. My goal is to submit queries to national magazines and continue writing short stories for an upcoming anthology.


  1. What a great year you had, Esther! Here's wishing you reach each one of your goals this year.

    Happy New Year to you and your family! :-)

  2. Thank you, bhaswati, a very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

    And - I must say, I so enjoy your website. I always feel such peace when I visit.